J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

Released: December 9, 2014

Rating: 6/7

2014 Forest Hills Drive is J. Cole’s third album, which includes thirteen tracks, and most surprisingly, no featured artists. The album title comes from the address of Cole’s adolescent home in North Carolina, the home where he first started rapping. He and his mother lived in the house before Cole went off to New York to begin his rap career. While he was away focusing on his career, the home was foreclosed on while his mother was still residing there. Cole promised himself that he would buy the house back when he had made it, and sure enough he bought it back earlier this year.

The album was highly anticipated due to the hype that had been created. J. Cole was popping into fans’ homes, and letting them listen to the album beginning to end, as well as holding a “sweepstakes,” for lack of a better word, that allowed fans to enter to win a trip to his childhood home in North Carolina, and attend a listening party prior to the release with J. Cole himself. ..I, myself entered, but did not win, unfortunately.

The only reason I feel this album should not release seven stars is because I know what kind of song J. Cole is capable of when he includes feature artists. His sophomore album, Born Sinner was very feature heavy, and wildly successful despite dropping it on the same day as Kanye West’s Yeezus. In my opinion, almost every track on Born Sinner was golden, and although with 2014 Forest Hills Drive has several amazing tracks, but it is not near as iconic as his previous album that is star-studded with features.

Some tracks to definitely give a listen to are “Wet Dreamz,” “No Role Modelz,” “Apparently,” and “Love Yourz.” The album in it’s entirety is intentionally very personal, and I am assuming the reason he neglected the use of features. These particular tracks are some of the most personal, story-like tracks off of the album. “Apparently” is the single for the album, and the only track that has a video so far that released shortly after the album. Speaking of singles, Cole did not release any singles before releasing the entire album on the ninth. However, the album did leak about a week early, unfortunately.

The album ends with a nearly fifteen-minute track that is titled, “Note To Self.” Cole refers to this as the “credits” for the album. This album was slightly rushed to be finished and out by 2014, which was very important to J. Cole. He explained that, “he did not have time to turn his thank you’s for the album art, so he takes time in the final track to verbally thank every person who worked on the album, inspired him, etc. I felt that this was the perfect way to wrap such a personal album; as a listener you can really feel how close this music is to Cole’s heart. Overall, the album stays true to the artist, and is definitely worth jamming to; I have not stopped since the moment it dropped.